Staff at a Carlisle school are now reflecting on their efforts in delivering remote learning.

Newtown Primary School pupils and staff went from little familiarity with Microsoft Teams in October to delivering online live sessions, sharing their screens, using breakout rooms and setting up file stores and assignments.

Acting Headteacher Marie Jamieson said: “‘It really has been amazing to achieve all this in such a short space of time.

“All children who did not have access to devices were given new laptops to use and they were supported to access free internet services when needed. This allowed staff to be able to deliver live lessons daily and they were really well received.”

During the recent lockdown, one parent told the school: “Remote learning is going amazingly, thanks to all of the teachers that give their time to help us.”

The staff shared good practice across the Newtown Road school and also with teachers across the rest of Cumbria Education Trust (CET) and its other 10 academies.

Mrs Jamieson added: “They undertook research and had a ‘can do’ attitude to have a go at new things and this enabled them to refine their online teaching skills and deliver effective home learning.

“The staff knew they wanted to make remote learning fun and so they ran competitions such as signs of spring photography, they did online PE and set up days and activities that were a little bit different.

“The children took part in Well-being Wednesdays which gave families the chance to concentrate on ways to keep the mind healthy. They also had a Crazy Hair Day to express themselves. They have taken part in baking competitions, quiz sessions and even had a whole school, virtual school trip to Chester Zoo. This saw families enjoying picnics with packed lunches whilst learning about the animals.

The time without pupils on site was put to good use.

The school roof was repaired and a full programme of redecoration carried out to ensure classrooms were painted and re-carpeted ready for the welcome return of classes.

One child commented: “The classrooms are lovely and fresh.

"I like the smell of new carpets and the rooms seem much bigger.”